Day 2 – Whale watching, sailing around a lighthouse and lots more
I’m a little bit excited for day 2.
Although we’re not going too far in terms of distance, we’re soaking up a tonne of West Cork’s magic.
Let’s get cracking.
Here’s everything you need to know about day 2
Coffee in Baltimore
Cape Clear Island and the Teardrop of Ireland
A bite to eat in Baltimore
Whale and dolphin watching in West Cork
Panoramic views from Mount Gabriel
Schull for the night
Rain gear (weather dependent)
Day 2 Stop #1 – Coffee in Baltimore
Skibbereen to Baltimore – 20-minute drive (leave Skibb at 8:40, arrive to Baltimore for 9)
Our first stop for the day is going to be the base for a lot of the days activities.
First, we’re going to grab a cup of coffee (or whatever tickles your fancy) to go from Glebe Gardens.
Once you’ve your hand wrapped around something hot, we’re going to have a ramble around the absolutely beautiful little village of Baltimore.
Day 2 Stop #2 – Cape Clear Island and the Teardrop of Ireland
The Fastnet tour leaves from Baltimore – make your way to the ferry for whenever your tour is due to begin (note the ferry is weather dependent and runs from April to August)
Our second stop of the day takes us on-board a ferry to Cape Clear Island.
Cape Clear is the southernmost inhabited part of the island of Ireland and has a population of over 100 people.
The ferry takes 45-minutes to get to Cape Clear, as you pass through the beautiful waters of Roaring Water Bay and arrive at the North Harbour on Cape Clear Island.
When you reach the island, a shuttle bus service leaves from the North Harbour, taking visitors to Cape Clear Heritage Centre for the Fastnet multimedia exhibition.
When you’ve finished up at the exhibition, make your way back down to the ferry.
The final lap of the trip takes you around Fastnet Lighthouse, often referred to as ‘the Teardrop of Ireland’, as it was the last sight of Ireland for emigrants sailing to America.
Here’s a fantastic look at the lighthouse from every angle, thanks to Tom Vaughan.
Day 2 Stop #3 – A bite to eat in Baltimore
The tour should take around 3 hours and get you back to Baltimore for 12:30
We’re on a bit of a tight schedule if we’re going to make it in time for our next tour.
When you get back to Baltimore, head straight for An Sibin Gastro Pub (or wherever you fancy – here’s a map full of great places to eat. Just zoom in on Baltimore).
Eat up and get back down to the ferry departure point to catch your second boat of the day
Day 2 Stop #4 – Whale and dolphin watching in West Cork
Arrive to the departure point for 14:00 sharp
Hands down one of the best things to do in West Cork is experience the magnificent wildlife that roams its waters.
Hopefully your stomach isn’t feeling dodgy after the first trip…
Our 4th stop of the day takes us aboard the Baltimore Sea Safari for an unforgettable experience.
We’re going to take the 2-hour trip which, according to the organisers is ‘a thrilling fun-packed coastal sightseeing tour of the West Cork coastline, with whale, dolphin, seal and wildlife watching.’
The tour takes you through areas where they’ve spotted wildlife in the past, so the chances of seeing something are high.
Keep an eye out for Harbour Porpoise, which are a regular sighting during this trip, Basking Sharks (here’s a video to check out that shows West Cork’s Basking Sharks in action), Ocean Sunfish, Sea Turtles and Jellyfish.
This really is an experience and a half.
Day 2 Stop #5 – Gawking at some panoramic views from Mount Gabriel
You’ll finish up the tour at around 16:40. The spin from Baltimore to Mount Gabriel takes 45 minutes, so you’ll arrive for 17:25
We’re going to round off today with a spin up around Mount Gabriel.
Hit play below to see what you can expect.
Mount Gabriel is roughly 407m high and is accessible via a road that serves the radar installations at the summit which is open to the public.
When you reach the top you’ll be treated to (on a clear day) views over Schull Harbour, Long Island Bay, Roaring Water Bay (and its many islands) along with a peek at the mountains of the Beara Peninsula and South Kerry.
Take some time to soak up the views that lay all around you.
Day 2 Stop #6 – Schull for the night
Take is easy on your drive up and around Mount Gabriel and aim to be in Schull for around 18:30/19:00.
We’re going to spend night two in the lovely little town of Schull.
Check into your base for the night and chill for a while – it’s been a long aul day at sea.
When the hunger pangs get the better of you, head on down to Hackett’s Bar where we’ll be grabbing food and kicking back with a few tipples for the evening.
Where the Road Trip will take us on Day 3 (into the belly of the Wild Atlantic Way)
That’s day 2 done!
Still with me? Let me know in the comments below!
Here’s where we’re taking you on day 3.